This is great news! My friend and philosophical confrère Caleb Stegall has been nominated for a senior judgeship in Kansas. He’s facing some criticism by Kansans who want to put him in the standard political boxes, but Caleb is the kind of thinking conservative who just won’t fit. Brad Cooper, a reporter for the Kansas City Star, called me recently to interview me about Caleb and his thinking. I’m really pleased by how fair and accurate Cooper’s piece turned out. Excerpt:
He has expressed concern about urban sprawl and questioned whether the city of Lawrence, for instance, had given into “unrestrained progress and unlimited consumption of land.”
“Our sprawl-mania is ecologically unsustainable, causing dangerous depletions of natural resources from topsoil to water,” Stegall wrote in 2009 for the political website Front Porch Republic.
He told the Lawrence Journal-World as early as 2004 that he believed that true conservatism is about sustaining families, traditions and the planet Earth.
Stegall has also has lashed out at commercialism, urging people to clear their lives of mass culture influences that choke personal growth, things he described as the “Hollywood weed” or the “Wal-Mart weed.”
“Read the classics and the church fathers instead of junk fiction and self-help crap,” Stegall said in a 2005 interview with Godspy, an online magazine for Catholics. “Get married. Have kids, lots of them. Don’t turn them over to others to raise.”
Stegall has written that he forfeited opportunities to make more money outside the state. He decided to pursue his legal career closer to home, first working in Topeka at Foulston Siefkin, one of the state’s biggest law firms, and later opening his own practice in the barely 1,000-person town of Perry.
He told a magazine interviewer in 2011 that using his legal skills to fix problems in Perry gave him a sense of what it meant to be part of the community.
He now lives on a 10-acre parcel in rural Jefferson County, where he, his wife and five kids grow some of their food.
Caleb’s nomination passed a Kansas Senate committee today, and will be debated and voted on by the full Senate on Wednesday. Confirmation is expected.
So: an actual Front Porch Republican stands a good chance of taking a seat on the Kansas Court of Appeals. Very cool. And, are you aware that non-interventionist, civil liberties fighter Sen. Rand Paul claims to be a crunchy con? Our little tribe is starting to make a difference.